LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson writes about the spiritual lessons learned from the 9/11 tragedy in today's "On Faith" blog on the Washington Post website.
"If there is a spiritual lesson to be learned from our experience of that fateful day, it may be that we owe to God the same faithfulness that He gives to us," President Monson wrote. "We should strive for steadiness, and for a commitment to God that does not ebb and flow with the years or the crises of our lives. It should not require tragedy for us to remember Him, and we should not be compelled to humility before giving Him our faith and trust. We too should be with Him in every season."
President Monson noted that there was "a remarkable surge of faith following the tragedy. People across the United States rediscovered the need for God and turned to Him for solace and understanding. Comfortable times were shattered. We felt the great unsteadiness of life and reached for the great steadiness of our Father in Heaven. And, as ever, we found it. Americans of all faiths came together in a remarkable way."
However, he said, "it seems that much of that renewal of faith has waned in the years that have followed. Healing has come with time, but so has indifference. We forget how vulnerable and sorrowful we felt. Our sorrow moved us to remember the deep purposes of our lives. The darkness of our despair brought us a moment of enlightenment. But we are forgetful. When the depth of grief has passed, its lessons often pass from our minds and hearts as well."
President Monson suggests that "the way to be with God in every season is to strive to be near Him every week and each day. We truly 'need Him every hour,' not just in hours of devastation. We must speak to Him, listen to Him, and serve Him. If we wish to serve Him, we should serve our fellow men. We will mourn the lives we lose, but we should also fix the lives that can be mended and heal the hearts that may yet be healed.
"It is constancy that God would have from us," he concludes. "Tragedies are not merely opportunities to give Him a fleeting thought, or for momentary insight to His plan for our happiness. Destruction allows us to rebuild our lives in the way He teaches us, and to become something different than we were. We can make Him the center of our thoughts and His Son, Jesus Christ, the pattern for our behavior. We may not only find faith in God in our sorrow. We may also become faithful to Him in times of calm."
President Monson wrote in response to a question posed by the "On Faith" editors: "What have we learned about religion in the past 10 years? What was the spiritual impact of 9/11?" These questions were asked of "some of the world's most influential religious leaders and thinkers," according to the "On Faith" site. Others who responded to the questions included Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Rabbi David Wolpe.